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Amalfi Coast Slaves: The Story of Slavery in Italy

Here's a little bit of history about the Amalfi Coast and the coast all the way down to Calabria and Sicily that not many people know about

When you think of slavery do you think of European slaves?

An Italian village set high above the sea on the Amalfi Coast.An Italian village set high above the sea on the Amalfi Coast.

Not many people do and yet a huge slave rebellion happened here in 73 BC.

Most of the slaves were from Eastern Europe, Germanic countries or the British Isles.

The slave rebellion was defeated by the Romans.

Survivors were crucified: men, women and children - 6,000 of them - along a 200 km stretch of road from south of the Amalfi Coast to Rome.

The terrible story was romanticized in the movie Spartacus. 

Hill Top Safety

Then there is the reason why so many coastal towns were built high above the sea on hill tops.

North African pirates continually raided these towns in the 15th and 16th centuries. Captured survivors: families, children, women were sold off as slaves in markets across Africa.

Some say that over a million people were taken in Italy, Spain and many other countries. Some were even taken from as far away as Ireland.

When you consider that southern Italy had a population of around 2 million at the time you can see how huge the impact was. People lived in terror and children, wives, husbands that were taken were never seen again by family left behind.

Those taken didn't have much to look forward too. Their future lives were often short and brutal: they worked in brothels in Africa or as galley slaves; rowing until they dropped dead, were injured or too old to row. Being unable to row usually meant you were thrown overboard and left to die a death by drowning or you were food for sharks before you even had the chance to drown.

Strange thing is that I knew nothing of this. Why don't they teach this at school? Or did they teach it at your school? Did you know about this?

If you'd like to read more about the subject then drop by Wikipedia.

Sorry for the history lesson.

I found it fascinating & hope you do too.

P.S. For more on the area today visit

For more reasons to visit Italy visit

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